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Coldgunner

Modelling mojo and state of mind

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This is a topic that fascinates me somewhat. I particularly notice how parts of my life affect my modelling productivity. When I am stressed, I become less interested in modelling, my model building production grinds to a halt and everything just stops. I get some optomism and I become a model making machine. I find my state of mind really affects my abilities. Stressful days cause me to be more lax and less productive with my model building, I understand there must be those that are the opposite, where model building is in fact a de-stressing agent. Life at the moment is very stressful and I can't bear to sit down and tackle some of my more complex kits. I might glue some panels together or assemble a chassis, but when I'm down in the dumps, its really hard to be creative. I'm in a job that gives me stress, and there are some days which I just don't care whether a kit gets finished soon. But I have a really good day at work, and I'll be up till gone 11pm, working on some fiddly brake rigging or applying some transfers.

 

I want to garner some personal reflections on this topic? How does stress and daily life affect your modelling output, are you affected by moods? Do you use modelling to escape from stress or is it a result of being happy?

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I think I'm similar, a bad day and I don't usually feel like doing much modelling, partly as if I do, I stand a better than usual chance of making mistakes or doing a poor job. And I hate having to redo things. Modelling is an escape from stress and the negative aspects of 'the real world' but for me, it's not a mood-altering activity. Good mood maintaining, yes. 

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I'm coming at this from a different perspective, as a clinical depressive, agoraphobic, and sufferer from panic attacks in some social situations.  I have learned (CBT) to avoid stress and consciously contrive, with some success, to have very little in my life because it is very destructive to me, but my mood level is of vital importance to my modelling and vice versa.  Sadly, it is the mood level that dominates the situation.  Tonight, for instance, I put the first coat on a B set I'm repainting, and have not been able to do the second; I'm low mooded, tired, and my concentration is affected.  Maybe tomorrow.  I used to regard this sort of thing as a failure to do what I'd set out to do and beat myself up about it, but now I just set it aside until I'm ready for it.  I have no explanation for why this happens, just does.

 

If I'm going through a rough patch, no modelling or operating happens, in fact nothing much happens at all as any fellow sufferers will understand.  But my overall mood is not low in general at the minute, and I'll be in the head place to give it another go tomorrow; I get tired and lose energy and concentration easily, and have learned not to engage in modelling when I am like this, as it often turns out badly!

 

The railway is not mood altering, or in my case mood maintaining, but it can be mood enhancing, and my attitude to it at any given time is an excellent mood level indicator,  It is very effective as a distraction mechanism and a 'safe place'.  it is one of the things that gives me great pleasure, but my mood is sadly capable of preventing my taking pleasure in anything when I'm in the low place; experience has taught me not to fight it but to let it wash over and tough it out.

 

Coldgunner, it sounds to me as if stress is fairly significantly affecting your life and that you are not one of those people who thrive on it; my advice is to maintain awareness of the situation and don't be afraid to seek help if you think you are not coping; it's not giving in or being weak, it's basic self protection; believe me, this is the voice of experience, as work related stress was one of the reasons for my disintegration and having to put the pieces back together slowly.

 

While I'm on this subject, let me add that the website and many of those using it have been, intentionally or not, a very great support and a reservoir of positivity that I have been able to tap into.  Thank you all, a lot.

Edited by The Johnster
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Cheers Johnster. Work is indeed partly responsible, I have bad weeks and good weeks. On the good weeks, I can go to work, then come home and continue working on whatever is waiting building. Without getting too much into my personal situation, my workplace knows I am having issues and are supporting me, helping me try to relax, they have been very good to me in fact. I get a lot of relaxation out of rmweb too, and its a little bit of escapism. I'm in the process of dealing with my issues, and importantly trying to take a step back.

 

When I am in the right mindset, I am incredibly productive and will finish off a number of builds. I don't take any kind of knock-back that well, and I take it deeply.

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I've finally gotten back into the game with modelling again, and been using my time working on nights to do some model building. Its been quite therpautic and relaxing this time. These things tend to come in cycles and no doubt I will lose the mojo again.

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I've finally gotten back into the game with modelling again, and been using my time working on nights to do some model building. Its been quite therpautic and relaxing this time. These things tend to come in cycles and no doubt I will lose the mojo again.

 

And hopefully get it back again.  Hope your boss doesn't read this with your modelling on nights!

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I actually find there are different mojos.  Sometimes I want to alter some rtr, sometimes I want to do some scenic stuff, sometimes I want to run the timetable sequence, and sometimes I just want to punt a few trains back and forth aimlessly; sometimes I even think about doing some proper modelling.  But it is, I find, important to be in the right head place for what you are doing and to realise when you are not and leave it alone, because you'll only mess it up!  I have problems getting started on the bigger projects, as I don't like having unfinished work around the place guilt tripping me, and have a proven track record of unfinished failures in various aspects of my life, so prefer to keep things bite sized and piecemeal.  The hardest part of Cwmdimbath was starting it, Confucius him say journey of thousand miles start with single step, but I am very glad I did.  No modelling or operating this evening, not in the mood, best left alone.

 

But matters are progressing.  Bought a curved Hornby point earlier to see if I can't put another road in the fiddle yard, and a plastiglaze sheet to finish off the B set, and a variety of staples to play around with the lamp bracket ideas, so the day has been productive from a modelling perspective even though no modelling has happened.  Tomorrow is another day.

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And hopefully get it back again.  Hope your boss doesn't read this with your modelling on nights!

 

Haha, boss is very understanding and once all the night work is out the way, my time is my own.

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I agree with a lot of what's been said .

 

If I'm pi.... off modelling doesn't get me out if it but if I'm happy it enhances it .

 

If I'm tired of stressed my concentration is such that ok just shunt a few trucks rather than try and build anything

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Personally, I find that its necessary to be in the right frame of mind at the outset, when undertaking model-making or similar, and that the activity then further enhances mood. Zen and the art of railway modelling?

 

Starting, or attempting to continue, a task when in the wrong frame of mind (too tired, too stressed, annoyed etc) is a recipe for annoyance, frustration, and accidentally trashing previous good work and/or expensive materials. I learned the hard way when not to tackle modelling jobs!

 

The very worst time to do modelling is after dental work, as the painkillers slowly wear-off ....... many years ago, I totally wrecked a very expensive Austrian r-t-r loco, by trying to improve it, as a task to take my mind off a bit of dental work.

 

Kevin

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I am/have suffered periodic Black Dog for the last two years lots of time wasted little achieved however better to model only when in the right frame  of mind 

 

hence my lack of output lately

 

Nick

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I would agree with the majority of what has been said as I am similar in as much that if I have something that is troubling me I just can't seem to put my mind to any modelling task. I do fined that if this state of mind continues for too long I then start to find excuses to not start a modelling task and all  becomes too complicated within my inner mind. I suppose that put in simple terms my mind is not thinking in a clear and ordered way which muddles the thought process. Daft as it might seem this can sometimes resolve a particular task that I'm not sure how to tackle by giving me more time to think things through....... a classic case of this is planning a track formation or scene on a layout as I have to have a totally stress free mind as I know that this is an area where I do struggle. 

One golden rule that I have learn't is never set oneself a deadline modelling wise as this starts to make modelling an everyday chore  :scared: we all have enough of those on a daily basis don't we  :triniti:

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I am/have suffered periodic Black Dog for the last two years lots of time wasted little achieved however better to model only when in the right frame  of mind 

 

hence my lack of output lately

 

Nick

 

I use Winston Churchill's Black Dog to describe it as well, Nick.  Don't think of it as time wasted; attempts to achieve anything while you are suffering are time wasted, and you have allowed it to wash over you and kept your head down, which in my view is a sensible coping tactic.  Remember, if you have to that it's not you, it's something from outside you that's been done to you, or has happened to you, or that you are not in control of; I know how easy it is to take the burden upon yourself while ignoring the coping mechanisms, to focus on the negativity.  Your output will return when you are ready for it, don't give up mate and remember you are not as alone as you might think you are.

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A thread very pertinent to me. Bravo for posting!

I have to admit that the main project has been very much in abeyance set against 18 months of NHS dominated ill health for both my wife and me.

We seem, fingers crossed, to be coming out into calmer waters now. We console ourselves that the most important fact is that life is still very much worth living - in the smallest details, and that we should enjoy that.

 

For my part, not being able to address the incomplete refurbishment of the large scale parts of the main project, I can escape by venturing into researching new possibilities via the computer.

For example recently I have been (not always successfully) exploring techniques like using computerised styrene cutters for modelling.

One can still dream!  And of course there is the pleasure via RMweb of clicking into others' modelling passions and ideas.

dh

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Oh how familiar this all sounds. I have just come out of about 3/4 months of really low mood and what I can only describe as mild depression (is there such a thing?). I have been prone to anxiety and Panic Attacks for about 7 or 8 years now but a bout of ill health earlier this year left me so low I just became 'lost' . I have spent a lot of time and money on Therapy as the poor old NHS just can't provide the sort of support for this level of illness other than Talking Therapy. Happily this helped as did meds and those I am reducing gradually as I feel stronger. 

May I just  say how I totally get what you are talking about. A few years ago I wouldn't have.

Also, I am undiagnosed Coeliac with some other low level conditions as well. I have 'discovered' that many of the meds I have taken/am taking can result in symptoms of low mood and lethargy as well as Anxiety related thinking. Also the diet I have to wtach so carefully results in a depletion of essential stuff for the body and mind. I would urge any of you that suffer with low mood and depressiuon to look carefully at your diet. It really does make a difference as has Tai Chi for me in a relaxing sort of way.

However, after a horrible spring I eventually got to the stage where I made myself get out and do things as I had actually regained some physical strength. With support I spent a week in Greece in sun and sea and that changed my life; it really did.  

Now, I know that I'm retired and do not have work stress and that if a crisis happens I may well stumble and that I still don't often want to go out and or meet people, but I have got back to my railway and that, after about 9 months of little activity by myself, is so good. However, if you get tired or maybe a teeny bit fed up, walk away and do something else.

I too have had amazing on line support on RMW and actual face to face support with other members. That has helped me enormously as well as having a truly wonderful SWMBO who, fortunately has an understanding of mental health issues from when she worked in the NHS in various roles with folk who suffered from the invisible illness.

Thanks for posting this. It has reminded me of where I have been and where I am now. It also allows me to say that there is a light at the end of your beautifully made tunnel.

Bless you all and may your days become more positive, fulfilling and above all, happy.

Phil 

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I agree with a lot of what's been said .

 

If I'm pi.... off modelling doesn't get me out if it but if I'm happy it enhances it .

 

If I'm tired of stressed my concentration is such that ok just shunt a few trucks rather than try and build anything

Shunting is good therapy :yes:

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Yeah, SWMBO has been a real help to me too. I get such satisfaction, not jsut out of the modelling, but like Leopard says, even putting down an ad-hoc shunting layout helps. Play is good.

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I'm very often in a depressed state of mind but I think what affects my ability to sit down and do some modelling is just being too easily distracted by something else. It goes in spurts - months without doing anything, then a little bit of great enthusiasm, followed by more months of nothing, which is why it's taken me years to do little, but that's fine. Going to a good exhibition often inspires me to get on with a bit more.

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... I too have had amazing on line support on RMW and actual face to face support with other members. That has helped me enormously ...

I'd just like to say how much  I enjoy reading your posts on a wide variety of RM threads, but especially your knowledgeable  observations on the Garden birds thread.

(Which reminds me I must get round to transferring my phone pic of a stray peacock having landed up on our roof and proceeding to scare us all witless with its unearthly shrieks).

dh

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I agree with all those that say modelling is hard/counterproductive when stressed or tired.

I also agree that running some trains when tired or stressed is a great mood lifter

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Shunting is good therapy :yes:

Especially if it is in 1.1 Scale over in Poland, in a Forest Glade, with bogie Timber wagons.

Phil

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I find I am a periodic modeller. I don't know how else to put it. Even if someone offered me a million quid to do it, I don't think I could model 8 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year.

 

Every so often - it may be weeks or even months apart, and in the past it has been years - I have a little burst of energy and model feverishly for days or even weeks. Then I stop, and nothing happens until the next time. I have exactly the same issue with writing. This explains why I rarely get anything finished.

 

Why my head works like this, I have no idea. Depression is possibly part of it. What I do find is that if I try to "force" things, the quality of my work declines rapidly. Even simple tasks become difficult. OTOH, after a long break, I quite often "forget" techniques and have to "reinvent" them. It's very annoying. I envy the bloke who can get out a kit for a loco and just stick at it, maybe for weeks, until it is finished. 

Edited by Poggy1165

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There's a lot of it about.  Those of you who have expressed appreciation for the support of SWMBOs are fortunate to have them; I don't at the moment and am not sure I would be in the head place to deal with one if I did, but you all clearly realise how fortunate you are!

 

If my broaching this has helped anyone, I am delighted.  I am lucky to have the support and understanding of a very good local self-help group one of whose CPN co-ordiators' of which has a father who is a modeller, so I have to keep her up to date with pictures of and reports of progress on Cwmdimbath for him.  But I appreciate my good fortune in living in a city where such a resource is available to me, a 'safe place' to talk about matters that affect sufferers without having to explain oneself constantly, and would very thoroughly recommend to anyone who is in a position in which they think that depression, anxiety, stress, panic attack, agoraphobia, OCD, or any similar issue is affecting their lives and/or those of their loved ones to seek out such groups or facilities sooner rather than later.  It is hard to admit you might have a problem in the first place, then just as hard to accept that you might not be able to deal with it from within your own resources, but, seriously guys, it is the only way to move forward in dealing with, or if you can't deal with, coping with such issues.

 

A common theme seems to be emerging which is that modelling, while it enhances situations in which you are in the good head place and does not make situations in which you are in the bad head place any worse, cannot unfortunately be of much help either when you are down.  This chimes with my own experience.  It is, therefore, overall, A Good Thing as applied to issues surrounding depression, panic, anxiety and so forth.  But I'd do it anyway, irrespective of any therapeutic value, because I'm a modeller and that's what I do.  To quote Martin Luther, 'Here I stand; I can do no more'.


There's a lot of it about.  Those of you who have expressed appreciation for the support of SWMBOs are fortunate to have them; I don't at the moment and am not sure I would be in the head place to deal with one if I did, but you all clearly realise how fortunate you are!

 

If my broaching this has helped anyone, I am delighted.  I am lucky to have the support and understanding of a very good local self-help group one of whose CPN co-ordiators' of which has a father who is a modeller, so I have to keep her up to date with pictures of and reports of progress on Cwmdimbath for him.  But I appreciate my good fortune in living in a city where such a resource is available to me, a 'safe place' to talk about matters that affect sufferers without having to explain oneself constantly, and would very thoroughly recommend to anyone who is in a position in which they think that depression, anxiety, stress, panic attack, agoraphobia, OCD, or any similar issue is affecting their lives and/or those of their loved ones to seek out such groups or facilities sooner rather than later.  It is hard to admit you might have a problem in the first place, then just as hard to accept that you might not be able to deal with it from within your own resources, but, seriously guys, it is the only way to move forward in dealing with, or if you can't deal with, coping with such issues.

 

A common theme seems to be emerging which is that modelling, while it enhances situations in which you are in the good head place and does not make situations in which you are in the bad head place any worse, cannot unfortunately be of much help either when you are down.  This chimes with my own experience.  It is, therefore, overall, A Good Thing as applied to issues surrounding depression, panic, anxiety and so forth.  But I'd do it anyway, irrespective of any therapeutic value, because I'm a modeller and that's what I do.  To quote Martin Luther, 'Here I stand; I can do no more'.

 

There's a lot of it about.  Those of you who have expressed appreciation for the support of SWMBOs are fortunate to have them; I don't at the moment and am not sure I would be in the head place to deal with one if I did, but you all clearly realise how fortunate you are!

 

If my broaching this has helped anyone, I am delighted.  I am lucky to have the support and understanding of a very good local self-help group one of whose CPN co-ordiators' of which has a father who is a modeller, so I have to keep her up to date with pictures of and reports of progress on Cwmdimbath for him.  But I appreciate my good fortune in living in a city where such a resource is available to me, a 'safe place' to talk about matters that affect sufferers without having to explain oneself constantly, and would very thoroughly recommend to anyone who is in a position in which they think that depression, anxiety, stress, panic attack, agoraphobia, OCD, or any similar issue is affecting their lives and/or those of their loved ones to seek out such groups or facilities sooner rather than later.  It is hard to admit you might have a problem in the first place, then just as hard to accept that you might not be able to deal with it from within your own resources, but, seriously guys, it is the only way to move forward in dealing with, or if you can't deal with, coping with such issues.

 

A common theme seems to be emerging which is that modelling, while it enhances situations in which you are in the good head place and does not make situations in which you are in the bad head place any worse, cannot unfortunately be of much help either when you are down.  This chimes with my own experience.  It is, therefore, overall, A Good Thing as applied to issues surrounding depression, panic, anxiety and so forth.  But I'd do it anyway, irrespective of any therapeutic value, because I'm a modeller and that's what I do.  To quote Martin Luther, 'Here I stand; I can do no more'.

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I find I am a periodic modeller. I don't know how else to put it. Even if someone offered me a million quid to do it, I don't think I could model 8 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 days a year.

 

Every so often - it may be weeks or even months apart, and in the past it has been years - I have a little burst of energy and model feverishly for days or even weeks. Then I stop, and nothing happens until the next time. I have exactly the same issue with writing. This explains why I rarely get anything finished.

 

Why my head works like this, I have no idea. Depression is possibly part of it. What I do find is that if I try to "force" things, the quality of my work declines rapidly. Even simple tasks become difficult. OTOH, after a long break, I quite often "forget" techniques and have to "reinvent" them. It's very annoying. I envy the bloke who can get out a kit for a loco and just stick at it, maybe for weeks, until it is finished.  

A lot of this chimes, Poggy, but feverish activity in between periods of deeply entrenched inability to motivate yourself to do anything smacks to me of the sort of extreme highs and lows experienced by sufferers from bipolar disorders.  Don't be frightened, they come in all sorts of shades from very mild upwards and you are no doubt, if in this category at all, one of the huge majority of sufferers who are a long way from seriously psychotic conditions, but it might be an idea to inform your GP about this if it worries you or is affecting your life in any we; he should be able to refer you to specialist advice and, possibly, treatment which might help you to manage things a little more easily.

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There are questions of personality-type to think about, too: some people have a natural inclination to plough one, very long, and neat furrow; others have a natural inclination to want to start new furrows every now and then, using different ploughs. Think about Rev Denny, pursuing and developing a single theme for approaching fifty years, and Gordon Gravett, who has pursued several different themes.

 

Then there is the question of whether other activities in life are consuming the mental energy that might go into modelling, or are giving alternative outlet for the creativity that might go into it.

 

Then, if it does feel as if it isn't either of the above, but a 'mojo problem', there is the possibility that something physiological is at the root. If anyone consults a doctor about 'mojo', I would strongly advise pestering for a full spectrum of blood tests, to check if that might be the case.

 

My own manic period eventually turned out to be due to an overactive thyroid, which made me feel and act like a man who was drinking a double espresso every quarter of an hour, 24/7/365. It made me insanely productive on all fronts, hobbies, work, the lot, for long periods, but gradually started to cause me to burn out for periods, during which all mojo went awol. Then the cycle would start again. Once identified, which took several rounds of blood tests over about six months, it was cured by a simple, reducing-to-zero, course of tablets.

 

Kevin

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